Review Summary: A strong debut album from a strongly overlooked band.
While Airut has been hidden from the internet for the past three years and have released no news since the album’s release, it seems perhaps that their reign has ended. (But don’t take my word for it. I want them to continue). The Finnish metalers gained a small amount of national praise thanks to the publicity of the Finnish Defence Forces, a modification for the 2001 Bohemia Interactive game, Operation Flashpoint. Having downloaded the mod myself, my ears were treated to catchy, heavy riffs, tuneful lead harmonies and impressive vocals as I scrolled through the main menu. It was an immediate surprise, but a delightful one. Having been amazed by the tracks, I did some research and discovered that after a string of EPs, they were finally going to release a full-length album. I stooped immediately to buy an import.
While some can arguably say that this brand of metal has been done before, Airut bring a skilful premise of memorable, easy-listening metal while allowing space for technical musicianship. The band doesn’t try to be anything they’re not and they play to their strengths. The opening riff of “Lyijykyyneleet” for example is an easily catchy riff and a great one at that and later on it blasts off with some impressive melodic harmonized guitar leads and triplet hopping drum work. This song is possibly the best on the album simply because it concisely sums up all of their strengths in a neat package. I would recommend to people who haven’t heard this band before to check this song out first.
Airut aren’t afraid to break things down with some great acoustic work on songs such as “Orkideahauta” and “Rengit”, and these sections make sense with the song-structures, while smartly keeping a shared melody with their heavy work. Noticeably these two are the longest on the album and it can show sometimes with negative results. “Rengit”s acoustic sections, especially its intro, seem to drag on longer than they should. “Orkideahauta” gets this balance right by controlling its length and sustaining a comfortable pace as they play through the verse sections, before transitioning effortlessly into heavy powerful guitar work. The band will often have light uses of layering synths and pianos over their clean sections and solos and they work comfortably into the mix.
The vocals are definitely the most unique part of this band. He shows a great range in his singing and possesses a strong, rugged and powerful voice. His opening vocals in “Rengit” for example begin with rough aggressive growling tones before breaking into remarkable high clean tones in the chorus. Throughout the album he shows this contrast and it suits the aggression of the music very well.
While the rest of the album offer their standard catchy heavy melodic metal, I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, their catchiness is their key, and all the songs share this quality. I strongly recommend that people give this band a listen, even if they may not release any more material in the future. It is a shame that this band doesn’t have more publicity than it should rightly have.